“This noir labyrinth captures the post-9/11 gestalt of anxiety and hopelessness.”

Publisher’s Weekly

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“Laird Hunt is an extraordinary writer, and here he has made an unnerving and beautiful world with nothing but some scraps of the familiar and fresh language…”

Sam Lipsyte


The Exquisite

In the wake of 9/11, Henry, a New Yorker left destitute by circumstance and obsession, is plucked from vagrancy by a shadowy outfit whose primary business is arranging for staged murders of anxiety-ridden clients unhinged by the “events downtown” and seeking to experience—and live through—their own carefully executed assassinations. When Henry joins this nefarious crew, which includes a beautiful blonde tattooist named Tulip, contortionist twins, and a woman referred to only as “the knockout,” he becomes inextricably linked to its ringleader, the mysterious herring connoisseur Mr. Kindt, whose identity can be traced through twists and turns all the way back to the corpse depicted in Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson.

Mirrored by a concurrently running story set in a hospital where Henry and Mr. Kindt are patients attended to by a certain Dr. Tulp, the mysteries surrounding Mr. Kindt’s past, Henry’s fate, and murders both staged and real, begin to unravel in the most extraordinary ways. Substantive, stylish, and darkly comic, The Exquisite is a skillful dissection of reality, human connection, and the very nature of existence.



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